feature post: “re-boiled,” by Justine of “A Half Baked Life”

Sometimes I am very systematic about things. Like the other day, I decided I was going to go through the PAIL blogroll, blog by blog, and catch up with all our bloggers’ recent posts. That’s how I came across today’s feature post.

Sometimes I am very scatter-brained, flitting from one thought to the next and then forgetting what I had originally set out to do. That’s how I got from today’s feature post, which features a recipe, to standing in my kitchen looking at a recipe for falafel and remembering the kind old Palestinian who had taught me his recipe when we lived in the same building of seminary students. (What may blow your mind even more is that he was studying at a Jewish seminary to help work towards peace.)

My writing is very scattered, see: above paragraph. And what has bothered me, since before I had a child, are the memories I had in school and life of never feeling like I could ‘get it together.’ I find myself watching Stella and seeing her pick up one toy, fling it aside, grab another, fling that one, then move on to another. Will she be like me? Will she struggle everyday to just remember what it was she was doing, or when that assignment is due, or what time a meeting is at?

Or will she inherit the other side of me? The side that decides on a project and that instant she is making list, organizing supplies, and getting it done?

Justine, of, A Half Baked Life, reflects on this in her recent post, “Re-boiled.” Justine writes how she can see so much of herself in her child:

“My son is sort of a perfectionist.  He’s been that way as long as I can remember, lining up his vehicles in lines that had to go just so, having a complete meltdown when he doesn’t do something exactly right the first time…But of course, this is my nature, too.  Having things just so.”

Justine also writes how in seeing her son develop tendencies that she herself has, she finds herself reacting like her own father reacted to her as a child. That she struggles to not react in ways she found negative to her as a child:

“And as much as I try to be reassuring, I confess that sometimes I also respond to the things that make me frustrated by expecting him to be perfect.  Why didn’t you get those math problems right? You know the answers.  Why can’t you bathe yourself faster… And so on.  Just, of course, like my father.”

We all, I suspect, struggle with this as parents. Recognizing traits in ourselves that we don’t like, we worry when we think we see our child expressing them. Or finding yourself reacting, sometimes even using the exact same words, as your own parents did. And cringing, remembering how it made you feel as a child.  Of course, we may have very positive memories of our parents and childhood, but usually there is always something that we decide we are going to ‘do differently.’ And, for me, it goes deeper. We waited so long to have this child, I can’t let myself ‘screw this parenting thing up.’

Justine writes that what is important is that we recognize this, we talk about this:

“The difference, though, is that I see it, and talk about it, and let him know that I’m not happy with the way I sometimes deal with anger, or disappointment, or frustration.  And we try to talk about how both of us can problem-solve better.”

Parenting is not just about your child, it’s about who you were as a child, who you are now, how your parents raised you, etc. Justine leaves us with the analogy of a soup, that is originally made with one set of ingredients, but then you stop the cooking, add some more ingredients, and then cook it again, you re-boil it, and it’s something totally different. Not only is it a great analogy, she gives us the recipe and I am eager to try it.

Please read Justine’s post, “Re-boiled” and share your thoughts with her about her post and your own reflections on parenting. Comments here are closed so you can join in the conversation on Justine’s blog.

*****

Justine, in her own words: “Professional, mother, wife, baker, infertility and pregnancy loss survivor, yogini, local food guru, and seeker of balance, wondering ‘What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’ -Mary Oliver”

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  1. […] shared our feature post, Re-boiled, by Justine, of, A Half Baked Life. Justine writes about seeing your child inherit certain traits […]

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